State coal baron in CBI net for illegal export to Bangladesh

SHILLONG: The CBI has filed a charge sheet against a coal baron in Meghalaya for exporting coal to Bangladesh in violation of the NGT ban on coal mining.
The accused, Khrikshon Lyngkhoi, a coal miner and exporter hailing from West Khasi Hills and currently residing in the city, has been charge sheeted by the CBI in a lower court in Guwahati on July 20 for allegedly transporting huge quantity of coal and fraudulently exporting them to Bangladesh via Assam.
The CBI officer, Anti Corruption Branch in Shillong, during the probe found that Lyngkhoi was involved in illegal transportation of coal and hence he should stand for trial. The accused has got bail. When contacted, the counsel for the accused, Raghvendra Jha, denied the allegations saying he would face trial to prove his innocence.
The CBI found that coal was transported to Bangladesh by using challans issued by the Directorate of Mineral Resources in the name of Lyngkhoi and bill challans, central excise invoices issued by Lyngkhoi without the coal being actually transported from Nongstoin to Karimganj via Dima Hasao district in Assam between January 25, 2015, and March 10 this year. This had caused loss to the government to the tune of over Rs 32 lakh towards non-payment of central excise duties, at the rate of Rs 29.29 per MT payable in Meghalaya and coal royalty under the NGT order at the rate of Rs 675 per MT.
Investigation by the CBI revealed that NGT had banned extraction and transportation of coal in Meghalaya with effect from May 13, 2014, till November 19, 2014. Later, on the request of coal miners of Meghalaya and the State government, NGT ordered an assessment of the already extracted coal in all the districts with coal mines. Accordingly, NGT allowed transportation of the extracted coal with effect from November 20, 2014, to February 12, 2015.
As per the NGT coal inventory data sheet annexure, Lyngkhoi had declared 15,121 MT coal in West Khasi Hills district. However, as per the assessment report submitted by the high-level committee, his total assessed coal was found to be 19,946.30 MT at different locations of West Khasi Hills.
Transportation of the already extracted coal was allowed by NGT vide order dated         November 12, 2014 through designated checkpoints. The approved weighbridges for West Khasi Hills were Dainadubi in East Garo Hills and Umling, Ri Bhoi. Later, another check-gate was set up at Mawpun, near Riangdo, West Khasi Hills.
The CBI investigation revealed that after NGT granted permission to transport coal from November 20, 2014, Lyngkhoi had transported 851 trucks of coal (7,659 MTs) from Nogstoin to Guwahati via Umling. Also, as per Lyngkhoi’s documents seized from Sutarkandi LCS, he had transported 905 trucks of coal (8,145 MT) from Nongstoin to Guwahati between November 20, 2014, and February 12, 2015, which were purportedly transported from Guwahati to Karimganj via Nagaon, Dima Hasao district, between the last week of January 2015 and the last week of February 2015.
It was revealed that Lyngkhoi had transported only 851 trucks of coal from Nongstoin to Guwahati during the period as per the record of the Taxation Department at Umling taxation check gate, which proved that 54 trucks (486 MT of coal) were not transported by Lyngkhoi from Nongstoin.
However, all the coal papers, including mineral transport challans and P forms issued by DMR and the Transport Department, bore the seal of Umling taxation check gate.
The documents for the 54 coal trucks that did not pass through the Umling check gate did not have genuine seal impressions.
The CBI said the coal dealer might have prepared similar seals with that of Umling taxation check-gate. “The vehicles did not pass through the Umling taxation check-gate as per their records and the seal impressions on those coal papers also do not resemble those of the Umling taxation check-gate. They differ in letters and seal sizes, hence seal impressions are fake,” the CBI observed.
The FIR by the CBI had earlier named public servants Hiranmoy Dutta, superintendent of Sutarkandi Land Customs Station under Karimganj Customs Division Assam, Surojit Roy, then inspector of Sutarkandi Land Customs Station under Karimganj Customs Division Assam and now posted at Old Raghna Bazar Land Customs Station near Dharmanagar (Tripura) under Karimganj Customs Division Assam, Anil Kumar Deb and WJK Meitei , inspectors of Sutarkandi Land Customs Station under Karimganj Customs Division Assam for allegedly using their official position to transport coal illegally.
During investigation, sufficient evidence and criminality could not be established against these officers, the CBI said. “However, there were certain lapses on their part in allowing clearing the exports which were departmental in nature and accordingly, they have been referred to the department concerned for action and hence  they are not to be sent to face trial,” the CBI report said.
The allegations against them were that they allowed the transportation of coal from Meghalaya to Bangladesh in violation of the NGT order by using coal challans issued by the Directorate Mineral Resources.

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